My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Relevant, honest and gripping. This is a cautionary tale about the consequences of inappropriate behaviour in online environments. This book explores how mistakes made by teens on social media can damage reputations, friendships and families. This is the situation faced by Ashleign, the main character of Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown.
Ashleigh is at an end-of-term party and has had been drinking when friends suggest that she should take a naked ‘selfie’ and text it to her boyfriend, Kaleb, so that he won’t forget her when he heads off to College. On a whim, she takes the advice and sends the photo. Some months later when the pair go through a breakup, Kaleb sends the picture to his baseball team in an act of revenge. The photo goes viral and the Ashleigh is left feeling humiliated and tormented by the cruel taunts, emails and text messages she receives. As the scandal spreads, Ashleigh’s school and even the police become involved as the photo constitutes sexting and because she is still a minor and Kaleb is over eighteen, the act of sending the text to his friends constitutes distributing child pornography and criminal charges are placed against Kaleb.
This book explores an important issue in a very realistic way and I recommend it as worthwhile for any teenage girl. Ashleigh is a character whom readers can identify with, her actions are naive and we can really empathise with the shame she feels when the brutal consequences of her actions unfold.
One picture can change your life and once these things are in the digital realm, it’s impossible for them to be permanently removed.